I see a family practice ND who does pediactrics, but isn't a pediatrician. I like it better because she sees us all, knows our family well- even delivered both kids. A pediatrician would just see the kids.
Pediatricians are great when a child is severely ill or when it's a matter of life and death. They have been trained to use the 'big guns' to 'rescue' a child.
Unfortunately they are a poor choice for the healthy child because they are poorly trained in the art of 'healing' simple childhood diseases. They refuse to trust a body's own immune system and feel a need to interfere.
Since they are the "expert" many will not take kindly to parent's opinions.
Your family physician is trained in general care. More than likely he will not push anything on you or your child because he looks at the body more like it can and will 'heal' itself. He trusts that consept.
Most are willing to work with you and consider/ask your opinion.
But if your child is in danger of losing his life, they do not have the training to deal with that.
There certainly are exceptions to both but that is what I have generally found over the years.
One is a generalist, the other more of a specialist--though actually a generalist for a certain age group. We;ve had no problem with ours respecting our research or parental opinions. I argued the semantics of nursing past one with the new doc at the ped's office at DD's last check-up. We got along fine.
A doc taught me how to fix nursemaid's elbow when DD had it the second time. That way we'd not have to see a doc unless it didn't work....
Originally Posted by Meiri
One is a generalist, the other more of a specialist
I actually think it's much more than that. Family medicine has a very different philosophy than pediatrics--they are the one medical speciality that treats HEALTH as the norm, rather than illness. Family physicians are generally the mavericks and alternative folk among MD's.
Some other advantages are that our doc can treat me and dd at the same time, which is convenient (being together) and also creates a continuity of care not possible with a pediatrician; since we both see the same docs, we have more of an opportunity to form a relationship; I've never been with dd in a waiting room full of sick children; and everyone in the office is always delighted to see dd, since they don't see that many children.
I think for general preventative care, if you are going to use an M.D., you can't beat a family practice doc!
One nice thing is that our whole family uses the same family doctor. He knows all of us, what diseases run in the family, etc. Our doc is very laid back about vaxing, fully supports EBF, and uses antibiotics as a last resort, so we have a true gem. He's also an osteopath and does wonderful manipulations!
Like others have mentioned, pediatricians are specialists in children. Which has its advantages and disadvantages. They are definitely the ones to seek if your child has a chronic illness, if you're worried about something unusual or serious. They also are more likely to be the ones taking care of your children in the hospital although some family docs admit children as well.
Family docs have the advantage of continuity of care for the whole family, and because they often take care of mom too, they are much less likely to be adversarial toward the parents, like some peds can be. Their training is primarily well-children and less serious illnesses, but it also depends on the individual doctor and what training or interests he/she has pursued. Many family docs, especially those that deliver babies, will have a large number of children in their practice and will be quite comfortable with a broad range of pediatrics. Another advantage is that your children don't need find another doctor when they turn 18! It is true that family practice has much more of a "wellness" philosophy than other specialties, but again, a lot depends on how the individual doctor was trained.
It's hard to generalize about either specialty. Not all family docs are alternative or supportive of AP, trust me! And not all pediatricians are anti-AP. What's most important is finding a doctor that you feel comfortable with and trust!
And for the record, I'm a family doc who sees kids, and I really enjoy it. But our children's doctor is a pediatrician - we probably do disagree on some "parenting" things, but I don't go to her for parenting advice. I go to her because of her years of experience with really sick kids, and I know that if my kids have something rare or serious, she'll pick it up!
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